In a game between already-eliminated teams that had no effect on their Eurocup future, already-eliminated Panellinios found meaning aplenty by beating fellow-Greek squad Maroussi Costa Coffee 83-85 on the road Tuesday to avoid becoming the only Last 16 team without a victory. Panellinios finished 1-5 in Group I, but couldn't climb out of fourth place, while Maroussi finished 2-4 and third. Panellinios had the game in hand, 77-85, going into the final minute, which is when Konstantinos Charalampidis tried to save Maroussi's pride with 6 points himself after that, but fell short of completing the comeback. Ivan Radenovic led the winners with 16 points, while Djuro Ostojic added 14 and Brad Newley 10. For Maroussi, Kostas Kaimakoglou led the way with 14 points, while Fanis Koumpouras added 13 and Georgios Diamantopoulos 10.
Panellinios started the game with full energy. Thanks to the right decisions on offense and solid defense, the visitors bolded to an impressive 10-point lead, 1-11. Maroussi tried to react by using a zone defense, but it caused no special problems to the visitors who kept scoring as Radenovic posted a three-pointer to make it 9-20. Jarod Stevenson answered from the arc for Marouissi to which Diamantopoulos added a layup to cut the difference to 19-25 after a quarter. Panellinios kept dominating the paint, with Ostojic and Radenovic combining for 25 points already, while Maroussi didn't have a lot of solutions. Soon, however, the hosts strengthened their defense and thanks to the scoring opportunities by Koumpouras and Kaimakoglou cut the margin to 33-36. Panellinios bagged 5 quick points in response 33-41, but again Maroussi cut the difference late, on Shawn Huff's three-pointer, to 42-45.
Stevenson's triple right after the break allowed Maroussi to tie before Koumpouras copied him for the hosts' very first lead, 48-47. Both coaches found the opportunity to give playing time to reserve players as the match was more offense-oriented. Loukas Mavrokefalides hit another big three for Maroussi at 59-58, while the end of the third period found the hosts two points ahead, 64-62. Panellinios opened the fourth quarter with a 0-6 run to retake the lead, 66-68 as the supposedly meaningless game seemed everything but that. Maroussi's young guard, Nontas Papantoniou, gave energy to his team with 7 fast points, but Panellinios didn't lose the control of the match and opened its lead to 72-80 thanks to a layup made by Vladimir Stergiou-Petrovic. With a minute to go, Mustafa Shakur gave Panellinios an eight-point lead, 77-85, but Charalampidis bagged a three-pointer while getting Maroussi as close as 82-85. Dimitris Kalaitzidis missed a pair of free throws for Panellinios, and when Ostojic fouled Charalampidis, the latter hit the first of his free throws for a 83-85 and missed the second on purpose. The hosts tried to take the offensive board and try to force an overtime, but failed and Panellinios celebrated their first win after five consecutive loses in this Eurocup group.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Vassilis Skountis, Athens